Improving Soil Infiltration Capacity to Restore the Hydrological Cycle in Disturbed Landscapes

Principal Investigator: Floor Cammaert

Floor's study area at Troy Gardens.Photo by Floor Cammaert

This project was designed to answer four key questions:

  1. What is the influence of a bioretention facility on the amount of stormwater runoff at a new development site and an agricultural site?
  2. Can a biorention facility restore the hydrological cycle of a disturbed landscape?
  3. What soil properties have to be improved to restore the hydrological cycle?
  4. What is the difference in stormwater runoff at a disturbed landscape before and after the implementation of a bioretention facility?

The purpose of this research was to see whether the hydrological cycles at Troy Gardens could be restored by improving the soil infiltration capacity through the implementation of a bioretention facility.

The restoration of the hydrological cycle is an important topic in disturbed landscapes such as urban development areas, agricultural landscapes and other landscapes which are negatively influenced by human activity. With the increase of impervious material and the change of natural soil conditions in general, the infiltration area for stormwater becomes smaller and smaller. This results in an increase of stormwater runoff, which in turn raises the amount of pollutants that drain directly into streams and lakes. This can lead to stream habitat degradation and an increased risk of downstream flooding. Another consequence of the inability of stormwater to infiltrate into the soil is the depletion of ground water reserves. This will cause a shortage of drinking-water in the future.

For further information about the results of this research please contact Troy Gardens: info at troygardens.org (replace "at" with @ when sending the email).

This research was conducted in 2005 by Floor Cammaert, a physical geography student from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands